USA takes on Costa Rica in the CONCACAF qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in what should be an exciting game.
The Americans need a command performance to keep advancing towards the World Cup. A loss would not eliminate them but would be tough to recover from.
How will the Americans respond? Here are three keys for an American victory.
The Americans came out for their last game against Honduras pretty lethargically. They had no energy, no spark and did not look like they wanted to be there.
If the Americans want to get back on track and keep progressing towards a World Cup berth, then they must come out flying.
The Americans cannot afford a slow start against a Costa Rican team that can be explosive. A slow start could get them behind the eight ball quick.
Contain Bryan Ruiz
Bryan Ruiz is probably Costa Rica's best player. He's the captain and has a deadly left foot. The Americans have an inexperienced defense, so they have to ensure that Ruiz doesn't have chances in close. The task of containing him will likely fall to Eddie Johnson, who has struggled of late.
If Ruiz has a big game, then the Americans could be in trouble.
Rely on Midfielders
The Americans have a weak and inexperienced defense, so the team needs the midfield to come up big and provide cover for the back end. The more pressure the midfielders can put on the somewhat inexperienced Costa Rican forwards, the better—they can try to force Costa Rica into some turnovers.
But if the midfielders cannot pressure the forwards, then someone like Bryan Ruiz can slip in and score. Eddie Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley need to come up huge for the red, white and blue.
The Americans need an aggressive performance from all players, with special attention being paid to Bryan Ruiz. The best way to stop Ruiz is for the midfielders to help out the inexperienced defense. If the Americans can do that, they should find a way to win. If not, then it could be a long night on the pitch.